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Skulduggery

Posted by ESC on October 14, 2002

I used the word "skullduggery" in an e-mail this morning. I couldn't find it in a dictionary but Word spell-check gave the OK on two Ls. Then I was paging through a library book I got at noon -- "Made in America: An Informal History of the English Language in the United States" by Bill Bryson - and happened on the word. Not only did I misspell it, it appears I misused it too. I hate when that happens.

Mr. Bryson says "skulduggery" has one L because it comes from the Scottish "sculdudrie," a word denoting fornication. (! ! ! !) Which isn't what I meant at all. I meant plotting and intrigue. Now I'm wondering what the recipient of my e-mail is thinking about what goes on in my office.